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She couldn’t believe her luck; Steve had actually spoken to her! She had been walking towards the homeroom with her friend when Steve passed by going the other
way.

“I like the stud,” he said indicating the small silver jewel on the side of Lisa’s nose, “it really suits you, I love girls who aren’t afraid to try something a bit different.” Lisa blushed slightly. “Thanks, I was not certain how people would react to it.” “Well I think it’s great, you should have some more done. Why not come out with me on Saturday, I’ve got this mate who is in to all of that stuff and could fix you up.” Lisa looked a bit taken aback but the opportunity to go out with Steve was not one to be missed. “Sure,” she said, “that would be great. Maybe we could get some dinner or something afterwards?” “Yeah OK, see you around 10 on Saturday.” Steve smiled and continued down the corridor. As Steve walked away Helen turned to Lisa. “I knew that stud would be trouble, what are you doing? In case you had forgotten that nose stud is fake, you said that your mom would kill you if you actually had it done.” “Hmm, that is going to be a problem. Now Steve thinks it’s real I don’t want to mess up my chances with him just for the sake of not having an argument with my mom.” Lisa considered for a moment, tapping the fake stud with her finger. “Anyway I think she will come to like it eventually.” Lisa and Helen agreed to meet after school to go into town and get Lisa’s fake stud replaced by a real one.

There were a couple of shops in town which offered body piercing but the one Lisa trusted the most was the shop she had been to to have her ears pierced for a second time last year. The shop specialised in new age and Indian stuff, with clothing and jewellery vying for shelf space with scented candles and henna tattoo kits. Lisa went up to the counter. “What can I do for you?” the girl behind the counter asked. Lisa noticed she also had her nose pierced along with what looked like a tongue stud, which caught the light slightly as she talked. “Umm, I would like my nose pierced please,” Lisa said. Her voice sounded very strained, but she found the thought of Steve helped dispel the fear that was sitting in the pit of her stomach. “Ok,” the girl said, “no problem, we are quiet at the moment so I can do it now for you if you want.” “Yes please,” Lisa nodded.

She followed the girl through the curtain behind the counter. “Is it all right if my friend comes too?”. “No problem,” the sales girl replied. “What do you want, a septum piercing?” Lisa looked at Helen who shrugged. “Umm, yes please.” She had assumed that the girl would simply remove the fake stud and put a hole in the same place. “Ok, if you want to jump up on the bed and lay back this will only take a second or two.” Lisa did as she was told, resting her head back into the arms of the sales girl who had pulled up a trolley with several items on it. “We haven’t got any rings in at the moment I’m afraid,” the girl said. “Will a bar be OK?” Lisa nodded again while wondering what a bar would look like. The girl wiped around Lisa’s nose with a cotton wool swab. She seemed to be paying particular attention to the middle of Lisa’s nose. Lisa was embarrassed by the thought that this was possibly because it was dirty in some way. The girl moved around behind Lisa and out of her line of sight, she instead focused on Helen stood at the foot of the fold down bed. Lisa smiled at her, Helen weakly smiled back. Good grief, Lisa thought, she is as white as a sheet. She would be little use in an emergency. Lisa felt the girl move down towards her nose and watched as Helen’s eyes went wide with shock “Umm, I don’t….” Lisa didn’t catch the rest as she felt an excruciating pain in the centre of her nose. She saw, in extreme close up, the girl’s hands move away leaving what looked like part of a hypodermic needle sticking out of both sides of her nose, clearly under each nostril, and through the membrane in the middle of her nose. The initial pain had made her eyes run and as she struggled to regain her composure and protest the mistakes the girl bent over her again and swiftly pushed a half-inch ring through the tender hole.

Lisa’s head was spinning. She tried to sit up but the girl held her down. “Don’t try to move for a few moments,” she said. “It will take you a little while for the shock to wear off.” “I know!” Lisa struggled to say. “I didn’t want that part of my nose pierced!” After a few minutes Lisa’s heart had calmed down to a more normal level, and she sat up. The girl handed her a mirror. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I asked you if that was what you wanted. I assumed you wouldn’t want another the same as the one you already have.” “It’s not real,” Lisa said, while carefully poking the curved bar which hung from her slightly red looking nose. “The idea was I was going to have it replaced with a real one.” “Oh.” After much discussion the girl offered to do Lisa’s nose as she had originally wanted for the cost of the stud only, she also showed Lisa how the septum piercing could be turned up into the nose making it almost invisible. This was enough to convince Lisa to keep the bar as a secret she could share with Steve tomorrow. Lisa and Helen walked home. Lisa touched her throbbing nose. The wind felt strange and she could feel the ends of the septum bar when she wrinkled her nose, but Helen assured her it wasn’t visible. Both girls laughed about Helen’s appalling squeamishness, particularly when she announced she was thinking of becoming a doctor.

All too soon they were at Lisa’s home, they went in the back door Lisa shouting hello as they went through the kitchen and up the stairs. A reply came from the front room. Lisa shouted to say they were going upstairs and that they had already eaten. Once safely upstairs Lisa felt more confident of hiding her new piercings from her mother for a least another day. The two girls chatted. Lisa was very excited about her date with Steve the next morning. “How do you think I should do my hair?” Lisa asked looking at her reflection in the dressing table window. Lisa had hair which was just on the blond side of mousy, she was amazed at her mother’s constant insistence that it was strawberry blond. She had recently had her hair cut from its previous mid back length into its current style where it ended just below her shoulders. As she studied her reflection she lifted her hair looking for a style which would best show off her face and which she hoped Steve would like.

“Wasn’t his last girlfriend a bit punky?” Helen said. “He was going out with that Sara girl from the other school wasn’t he?” “Oh yes, I remember her, black hair which stood straight up from her head! Mind you she was very pretty, even if she did have fright hair,” Lisa replied. “You are just as good looking,” Helen said. “We just need to find you a style which is going to appeal to Steve’s taste.” Lisa pulled a few magazines out while Helen stood behind her brushing her hair. “Have you got any gel or hairspray?” Helen asked. She was holding Lisa’s hair in a high ponytail which she had then wrapped round itself. “We could do it like this,” she said, nodding in the direction of a magazine open in front of her. The model’s hair was black but Lisa guessed it was of around the same length as hers, it was in a high ponytail with spikes of hair coming out the top. Lisa had to admit it was quite funky and not too hard to do. “Ok, let’s try it,” she said. Helen put Lisa’s hair into a bungee close to the top of her head. The hair spilled out, and it was obvious that it was way too long to spike. “How about if we make a sort of bun with hair coming out of the top?” Helen suggested. “And we could put some small plaits in around the front and sides,” Lisa offered.

The girls worked on the style for over an hour, the plaits taking the most time, but eventually they were done. Lisa looked at herself. “It’s quite punky, isn’t it?” she said, wrinkling her nose. This made her wince and she made a mental note not to do it again. She turned the curved barbell round so the ball ends
were visible below her nose. The overall effect was amazing, it was hard to believe it was her own refection she was seeing. A curtain of plaits fell over her face and down to below her chin. Helen had counted over 30 separate plaited strands, more plaits sprouted from the top of her ponytail along with spikes of gelled hair resembling a shock of pineapple leaves. She tucked the plaits from in front of her right eye behind her ear, leaving the left eye behind its curtain of hair. She had to admit she looked amazing. all she needed now was the confidence to go out like this. It certainly wasn’t how she would normally look at all but hopefully Steve would be impressed. The girls chatted for a little while longer and eventually Helen left, wishing Lisa luck. Lisa left her hair as it was and went to bed.

The following morning she woke up and wandered out to the bathroom. “What do you look like?” her mother said, surprising her awake. “And what’s that on your nose?” Lisa’s hand flew up to her nose and she quickly turned the curved bar up. “Um, it’s a stick-on stud,” she said defensively, hoping her mother had not noticed the septum bar. “It had better be,” her mother said, trying to get a better look. “And what have you done to your lovely hair?”Lisa was glad of the change of tack and gave here mother a twirl. “Don’t you like it? Helen helped me with it.” “You look like some kind of punk rocker,” her mother opined. “I hope you don’t think you are going out dressed like that.” “Oh mom stop being such a fuddy-duddy, this look is fashionable at the moment,” Lisa said, and flounced into the bathroom, confident in the knowledge she had gotten away without her piercings being noticed.

She showered, taking care not to get her hair wet, and then waited until she was certain her mother had gone downstairs. A dash back to her bedroom and she was safe again. Now to decide what to wear. Lisa selected a crop top, which showed her midriff, leather trousers of which her mother thoroughly disapproved, and to go with them three chain belts she had brought on a whim but never had the occasion to wear. Boots would have to be her DM’s. She looked at herself in the full-length mirror, her hair had only needed a bit of straightening and then she had put on a little makeup, which was a lot more than she usually wore. She was a knockout, she had to admit. She had seen girls looking like this in town and often admired them but had never thought she would be one of them.

It was nearly 9.15. Lisa had hoped her mother would go out, she nearly always drove to the supermarket on a Saturday morning. She could afford to wait another fifteen minutes and then she would have to make a move. Just then her mother shouted from downstairs, “I’m going out now, Lisa, see you later.” After waiting for the car to leave the drive she made her way downstairs and out the front door. She felt odd as she walked into town. It was strange having people openly staring at her. She hurried to the place she had agreed to meet Steve. There was no sign of him when she arrived but as she was a couple of minutes early she wasn’t concerned. She had picked up a magazine on the way and leaned against the wall flicking through its glossy pages. She watched out of the corner of her eye for Steve, and often caught people looking at her.

After a few minutes she saw Steve coming however her heart sank slightly as he seemed to be with someone. “Hi,” Steve said, “this is Marcus. I mentioned him yesterday.” “Hi,” Marcus said. “Hey is that a septum bar?” Steve exclaimed. “Brilliant! That is so cool.””Thanks,” said Lisa, blushing at the attention Steve was paying her.”What do you think Marcus?” Steve asked. “I told you she was good, didn’t I?” Marcus nodded. “She is ideal.” Lisa was slightly put off by the way Marcus was examining her. “Umm, what is he doing?” she asked, as Marcus seemed to be examining her ears. “Oh, it’s ok,” said Steve. “You remember I said I had a friend who was into piecing and stuff, well this is he. Marcus is in the final year of a fashion design course and he is putting together a portfolio of styles.” “Oh,” said Lisa, a little worried about where this was leading. “And…” “Marcus can give you an amazing makeover for nothing, they are trained at college so you don’t have anything to worry about, and anyway Marcus specialises in your type of look,” Steve told her, beaming. “Well ok, perhaps, but nothing too wild?” Lisa couldn’t bring herself to tell Steve she didn’t want to annoy her mother any further, and so she figured she would have to play along, and hope they could ditch Marcus at the first opportunity. The other reason she had to play along was the obvious enthusiasm Steve had for her to be made over.

“Where are we going to go?” Lisa asked. “Marcus can use the college stuff all day today,” Steve told her. “The tutor trusts him to lock up when he is done.” They walked to the college which was only just outside the town centre, Marcus opened up and let them in and they made their way to the second floor studios where Marcus was based. Lisa looked around nervously. “Sit down,” Marcus said, motioning towards a chair with a reclining back. “I don’t know what Steve told you,” he said, “but if it’s ok I would like to take pictures of you as I go, so that I have a full record for my portfolio.” Lisa nodded. “What are you thinking?” Steve asked Marcus. “I’m sure Lisa wants some more piercings and she would look so hot with a more intense hairstyle, eh Lisa?” Lisa was now a bit worried but to back out now would mean losing face with Steve big time. “Ok,” she said quietly. Marcus undid her ponytail and let her hair fall down. The spiked ends stuck out. “I think I will need to cut it bit, but first it needs washing and colouring.”

Marcus led Lisa to a chair by a wash basin and lowered her hair into the sink. After getting the water temperature just right he started washing Lisa’s hair. Lisa looked around. Steve had found a pile of magazines and was happily reading his way through them. There was no prospect of engaging him in conversation, so she lay back and enjoyed having her hair washed. Marcus rubbed Lisa’s hair dry and began applying a blue yoghurty mixture to the back of Lisa’s head. Lisa couldn’t see what was going on but could feel Marcus pasting something onto her hair, she had no mirror so it was not until Marcus moved around to the side of her head that she could see the contents of the bowl he was carrying. “What’s that?” she asked. “Bleach,” he replied matter-of-factly. “I need to lighten the hair first so that the colour will take.” Steve looked up from a Woman’s Own magazine and smiled encouragement. “It’s ok, love, you will look amazing. Trust me, Marcus is an artist.”

Lisa resigned herself once more to whatever Marcus had in mind. With her entire head pasted in the bleach Marcus covered her head in cling film. He explained this was to help it develop as well as to keep it off her clothes. Marcus took a few pictures of Lisa with her head covered; this was the second set as he had taken some before he started. “The bleach needs a while to work,” said Marcus, “so let’s look at what else we can do.” Marcus opened a large plastic toolbox and took out a selection of jewellery. “Some of this I have made and some is stuff the department is donated by local businesses,” he explained. “So where you would pay 25 quid in the shops for one piercing, here I can do it for next to nothing. What I think we’ll do is to concentrate on one ear and maybe something around the eyebrow.”

Lisa wasn’t certain whether it was the effect of the chemical soup slowly eating the colour out of her hair or whether it was the equally powerful influence of Steve but she didn’t argue. Marcus took out a selection of rings along with a number of piercing needles. Lisa’s mind was in turmoil. How would she be able to explain to her mother her arrival home blond and newly pierced? Marcus selected several needles and removed them from the packaging. Lisa’s eyes widened – they seemed to be much bigger than the one the shop assistant had used on her nose! Marcus mo
ved out of her line of sight and around to her left ear. She felt a cool spray on her ear which seemed to desensitise it completely, she could still feel Marcus touch her ear but it seemed to be happening very far away. After removing Lisa’s small hoop ring Marcus took out one of his larger dermal punches, its hollow centre meant that it actually cut out a small plug of skin, allowing the jewellery to fit without distortion of the area around it. Taking the punch he carefully positioned it against Lisa’s earlobe and pushed it half way through. Lisa tensed slightly but showed no other sign of discomfort. Taking a two-inch diameter ball closure ring Marcus fitted it into the hollow end of the punch and pushed it through. Lisa winced as she felt the pressure but noticed Steve was taking more of an interest. “How dose it look?” she asked him. “It’s nice,” he said. “Do you want a hand, Marcus?” “No, that’s ok, you’d only get in the way,” Marcus said, fitting the ball into the ring. Using the same punch, after rinsing it in alcohol, Marcus worked his way around Lisa’s ear. She could feel him pushing the needles through, particularly where he was cutting through cartilage, but she felt no pain at all.

Using rings of the same gauge but gradually decreasing diameter Marcus was soon finished and six silver rings hung from Lisa’s ear. “Nearly done,” Marcus announced. He selected a needle of more moderate size and moved around in front of Lisa. He carefully pinched a small amount of skin on the end of her eyebrow. “What are you doing?” Lisa asked, pulling her head away from his fingers. She was somewhat worried about the way the day was going. “It’s an eyebrow ring, or it will be when you let me get on with it.” “C’mon Lisa. In for a penny and all that,” Steve helpfully opined. Lisa looked pained. “This had better be worthwhile Steve,” she said. “Everything’s cool, no worries,” Steve replied. Marcus had once again selected an area of eyebrow, and while Lisa shut her eyes Marcus quickly pushed the needle half way through. Lisa held her eyes shut, partly because of the pain, it was amazing that such a small needle could hurt so much. Then she felt a second push in the same eyebrow. She risked opening her eyes for a glimpse. Immediately in front of her left eye were two needles. She rolled her eyes in Steve’s direction, he smiled encouragement. Marcus quickly replaced the needles with ball closure rings of around 3/4 inch diameter.

Over an hour had now passed since the bleach had been smoothed onto Lisa’s hair. “Let’s rinse this out and see how it looks,” Marcus said. Lisa stood to walk over to the chair by the sink. She was amazed at the weight in her ear, she could feel the rings swinging and bumping against her head. She leaned back and Marcus washed the chemical from her hair. “That’s ok,” he said, and after towel drying he stood back and looked at her as an artist might look at his painting. “Now let’s do something about the length.” He led Lisa back to the chair and sat her down. Taking a towel he wrapped it around her shoulders and combed her hair through. Using a tail comb he sectioned her hair. The sides were divided from the top along a line roughly three inches above each ear, the top was divided from the back around three inches above the occipital bone. The top section Marcus collected into a scrunchy, this held it up and out of the way. Lisa heard the buzzing sound as Marcus turned on the clippers, but didn’t realise what they were until Marcus started running up the side of her head in front of her ear. She was stunned; he was clipping her hair down to nothing! She couldn’t see the results of the clippers but as Marcus continued some of her plaits fell into her lap, and from these she cloud imagine the amount of hair remaining. Marcus continued to cut both sides and back, the clippers left a couple of millimetres of hair, which, with the bleach, was very hard to see. Lisa was surprised to find she was enjoying the feel of the clippers on her head. But it was quickly over, and Marcus moved on to the hair in the scrunchy. This was released and allowed to fall free. He carefully combed it down all around her head, laying the remaining plaits down over her eyes. He then began cutting this longer hair to chin length. Because there was so little hair left of any length, the shorter hair was clearly visible through the longer white blond layer. Clipping the top, longer layer up out of the way, Marcus took a small tub from his box along with a 1/2-inch brush. The inky blue liquid in the tub was brushed onto Lisa’s stubble. Marcus applied it carefully, only coating the ends of the bristles with the thick substance. “This needs leaving for fifteen minutes,” Marcus said. “I’ll start on your makeup while we wait.” Steve was getting bored. Lisa watched as he quickly flicked through another magazine. This one was Hello, on the cover Jonathon Ross and his wife gazed out happily hand in hand. Steve seemed particularly taken with the cover, Lisa guessed it was Jonathan’s wife that had caught his attention. She was well known for her unusual hair colours and in this picture she had a flowing mane of pink/red coloured hair.

Lisa was beginning to think that trying to satisfy Steve’s fantasy was possibly more trouble than it was worth. Once more Marcus took Lisa to the sink and rinsed out her hair, this time concentrating on the shorter sides. After towel drying he sat her back down. “How much longer?” she asked. It was now mid-afternoon and Lisa was concerned that she was going to get no time at all with Steve alone. “Half hour at the most,” Marcus replied. Taking the clippers again he turned them around and used the cutting edge to carve lines a few millimetres thick down to the scalp. Soon these lines radiated out from Lisa’s ears on both sides, and Marcus began cutting curved lines, which took Lisa’s ear as their centre point. The overall design resembled a cobweb, with Lisa’s shorter hair now with its dark blue ends contrasting against the white skin showing through. Marcus thoroughly dried all of Lisa’s hair and began to back-comb the longer stuff on top.

After five minutes of preening he finally stood back and put down the comb and hairspray. Lisa looked around at him. “Are you finished?” she asked. “Yep, all done,” Marcus said, “Just need to take a few more pictures.” “Can I look first?” Lisa asked. She still hadn’t seen herself. She could feel the earrings and had a good idea of the length of her hair, but as Marcus came back into the room with a full-length mirror, her hand flew to her mouth and a gasp escaped her lips. “Oh my god! What have you done to me?” To say Lisa was shocked would have been an understatement. Steve walked up to stand behind her as she stared at the reflection she didn’t recognise before her. Steve placed his hand on her shoulder and then slowly moved it up. Caressing her neck with his fingers his hand moved onto the bristly blue and white hair of her nape. She shuddered as his hand continued its journey, tracing one of the lines that had been shaved into the side. She could see by the look on Steve face the effect her transformation had had on him.

For several minutes no one spoke. Marcus had his camera and was taking pictures of Lisa from all angles. Lisa couldn’t take it all in, the attention Steve was paying her was almost going unnoticed as she tried to come to terms with her new appearance. She ran her finger along her eyebrow and to the two rings, she continued on and gave the earrings an experimental push, the rings rocked back and forward, taking the earlobe on a swinging arc. Now Lisa could see the size of the rings she realised why they felt so heavy. She noticed that the rings were of the same gauge all the way around their diameter, not as she had first thought, with a thin section where they went through the skin. That meant that the holes in her ear must be huge! She slowly traced her fingers back along the short patterned hair to Steve’s hand, which was still caressing the side of her head. She enjoyed the softness of the short hair; it looked almost iridescent as the blue
ends flicked up behind her fingers. She caressed Steve’s fingers, he took her hand in his and looked at her in the mirror, she looked back at Steve’s head over her left shoulder. “Well, do you like it?” he asked. “It may take a bit of getting used to,” she replied, “and god knows what my mother’s going to think! What do you reckon?” she asked him. “I think you look stunning. What had you got planned for later?” “I’ve got nothing planned, why?” “Well I thought we could go into town, get something to eat, and then maybe go out to a club later?” “Ok,” she replied brightly. They said their goodbyes to Marcus, who seemed quite pleased with how Lisa had turned out, and Steve and Lisa left heading into town.

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